NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the news during an event on Thursday night at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, revealing that Lopez -- with whom the network has been working on police drama "Shades of Blue" -- pitched the idea to NBC herself.
"She came to us and said 'I love this show, I discovered the music,'" Greenblatt told the Paley crowd, adding that the singer-actress was inspired in part to take on the project after performing the "Bye Bye Birdie" tune "Lot of Livin'" at her ongoing Vegas residency.
The show first hit Broadway in 1961, starring Dick Van Dyke as a struggling songwriter named Albert and Chita Rivera as his long-suffering girlfriend, Rosie. The pair scheme to get an Elvis-style singer named Conrad Birdie to croon one of Albert's tunes to a teenage contest winner on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and give her one last kiss before heading off to the Army. "Birdie" went on to win the Tony for best musical, and was later adapted into a hit 1963 film version, starring Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, and Ann-Margaret. Lopez is set to play Rosie in NBC's version.
Lopez and "Bye Bye Birdie" is just the latest high-profile pair to headline NBC's new annual holiday tradition of live musicals, which began back in 2013 with Carrie Underwood starring in "The Sound of Music Live!" That show was followed by Allison Williams and Christopher Walken in "Peter Pan Live!," and "The Wiz Live!," starring Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Uzo Aduba. This year, "Hairspray Live!" will hit the network, featuring Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande.
No premiere date is set yet for "Bye Bye Birdie Live!," though it's expected to air sometime late in 2017.
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When the draft selects rock star Conrad Birdie, his fans are devastated, but none more than struggling songwriter Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke), whose song Birdie was just about to record. Albert's longtime girlfriend, Rosie (Janet Leigh), pushes Albert to write a new tune that Birdie will perform on television to a fan selected in a contest. The scheme works, with young Ohio teenager Kim McAfee (Ann-Margret) declared the winner, but no one has counted on the jealous wrath of her boyfriend. Read More